The Iranian men's national football team has earned a hard-fought victory in the opening match at the 16th edition of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in Australia, defeating the Bahraini side 2-0.
On Sunday, the Bahraini squad made a lively start in the Group C contest staged at the Rectangular Stadium in the port city of Melbourne, and had a number of good chances to score. However, the Bahrainis squandered the opportunities.
Iran improved as the half progressed, and 24-year-old Ehsan Hajsafi scored a spectacular goal in the first half's stoppage time to bring joy to supporters of the Iranian team, who were creating an electric atmosphere at the stadium.
The Iranian footballers were the better sportsmen in the second half, and created several chances.
Masoud Shojaei tucked the ball in the bottom left corner with 19 minutes remaining to clinch a 2-0 win over Bahrain.
In another match of the day, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) claimed a dominant victory at Canberra Stadium, and overwhelmed Qatar 4-1 in a Group C fixture.
The Iranian team will return to action on Thursday evening as it takes up Qatar in the second group stage match at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
The hosts have Oman, Kuwait and South Korea for company in Group A, while China was drawn in Group B with North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE are together in Group C.
Iraq, Japan, Jordan and Palestine form Group D.
The 2015 AFC Asian Cup, known as the 16th edition of the tournament, opened in Australia on January 9, and will conclude on January 31.
The winner of the sports event will earn the right to participate in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which is to be hosted by Russia.
Queiroz pleased with national team's 1st performance in Asian Cup
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency
Iranian national football team's performance versus Bahrain was very good and I am pleased with all my players, team's Head Coach Carlos Queiroz said on Sunday after the team's 2-nil victory in it 1st match in Asian Football Cup.
'The topmost important thing is scoring goals, which always makes me happy and that is what happened during the game's first half in which we were the prominent team in the field,' he said in a press conference after the game.
The Portuguese head coach of the Iranian team said that the teamwork and not the individual performance of the payers is what matters to him next to scoring goals.
'In each game there are often a number of shining stars, but the excellent work of the defense line, cannot be ignored,' said Queiroz.
More photos of the game and the fans:
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